As one of Ghana’s national dishes, okro stew is prepared with tomatoes, red palm oil, onions, tomatoes, spices and finely chopped okra.

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: African, Ghanaian

Servings: 6 people

Author: Freda Muyambo


  • 2 lb stewing beef
  • 1 beef stock cube (or chicken stock cube)
  • 4 kpakposhito peppers
  • 4 tablespoons palm oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 cloves garlic , finely diced
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger
  • 4 medium vine tomatoes
  • Scotch bonnet pepper (or chili powder), according to taste
  • 2 fillets smoked mackerels (optional)
  • 24 pods okra
  • Water (as needed)


  1. Cut the stewing beef into bite sized chunks and place into a pot. Chop ¾ of the first onion and add it to the beef. Reserve the other ¼ onion for the sauce.
  2. Add the kpakposhito to the pot, whole.
  3. Add a cube of beef or chicken stock seasoning, top with water and braise until tender. Cooking time depends on the type of stewing beef used. While the beef is cooking, prepare the other ingredients as follows.
  4. Finely chop the second whole onion. Place a large pot on the stove and heat up the palm oil. Fry the onions in the oil until they just begin to caramelize.
  5. Add the diced ginger to the pot and fry for about 1 minute, just before adding the tomatoes.
  6. Chop the tomatoes into small chunks and place them into a blender or food processor. Add the ginger to the tomatoes.
  7. Add the remaining onion to the blender.
  8. Add the desired amount of scotch bonnet peppers.
  9. Pulse or liquidize the ingredients until smooth.
  10. Pour the mixture over the caramelized onions and allow the sauce to cook down and thicken. This should take 10 minutes, as oil begins to rise to the top. Stir regularly to prevent burning.
  11. Quarter the okra pods, then chop them into ¼-inch thin slices. Set aside.
  12. Break the smoked mackerel into chunks and add to the stew (optional). Add a little more water and allow to simmer for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse into the sauce.
  13. Add the chopped okra into the stew and stir. A little more water may be added to encourage the okra to cook well. The presence of tomatoes in the stew slows down the sliming process. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  14. Add the cooked beef along with the stock created during the braising process and stir to incorporate into the stew. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  15. Check for seasoning and add salt if required. The dish is now ready to be served alongside banku.

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